VetCAT: A Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy Program

VetCAT: A Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy Program VetCAT: A Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy Program has moved to the National Veterans Art Museum! Contact us about upcoming programming.
VetCAT: A Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy Program is an innovative, multi-modal program for veterans and their families. Facilitated by professional art, dance/movement, and poetry therapists who are trained as mental health counselors, visual artists, dancers, poets and writers to help service members with a wide range of mental health issues and to promote wellness practices. No prior artistic or counseling experience is necessary to participate in the program. You do not need a referral to participate in the VetCAT program and services are offered free of charge.
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The Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy (VetCAT) Program provides quality creative arts therapies for all veterans and service members in a supportive community environment, to promote mental health and the development of positive coping skills which will facilitate successful transition to civilian life. Transitioning from high-stress military service and culture to a home community environment can be the most difficult part of a veteran’s journey. Men and women in the military often return home only to face a new set of struggles as they carry physical and psychological changes and wounds into a society that does not fully understand their experiences or their sacrifices. Some returning veterans and service members experience great feelings of isolation. Veterans and service members have rich stories to share about their experiences of military service and about coming home. These stories, because of their complex or difficult subject matter, may be hard to convey through casual conversation. The arts (visual art, dance/movement, poetry and creative writing) offer alternative means by which to tell these stories and to have them be witnessed by others. PROGRAM GOALS • To facilitate successful reintegration and transitions in civilian life. • To promote the mental health of participating veterans and active duty service members. • To recognize and de-stigmatize PTSD. • To increase knowledge about the mental health issues which are commonly distressing to veterans and their families. PROGRAM OBJECTIVES • Participants will engage in self-expression to decrease isolation. • Participants will improve communications with family members and develop stronger connections with their community. • Participants will identify their resiliency and strengths. • Participants will learn and develop self-care and coping skills. • Community and family will gain recognition and understanding of military culture, and the unique challenges and sacrifices of veterans.

Mission: The Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy (VetCAT) Program provides quality creative arts therapies for all veterans and active duty service members, in a supportive community environment, to promote metal health, and the development of positive coping skills which will facilitate successful transition to civilian life.

VetCAT: A Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy Program
10/22/2014

VetCAT: A Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy Program

Something lovely for your Friday night.
09/06/2014
How a service dog helped a veteran heal

Something lovely for your Friday night.

Gander, a charming labradoodle, helped veteran Lon Hodge recover from crippling anxiety and depression after his service. Here's their story.

This came out a few days ago, but the image (below) was so striking (and the message so good), that we just had to repos...
08/22/2014
More hospitals are giving artwork a higher priority

This came out a few days ago, but the image (below) was so striking (and the message so good), that we just had to repost. (via The Wall Street Journal)

With studies showing a direct link between the content of images and the brain's reaction to pain, stress, and anxiety, hospitals are giving artwork a higher priority.

Thought some of you might want to join us for a bike ride tomorrow afternoon! The Chicago Bicycle Coalition will lead us...
08/08/2014

Thought some of you might want to join us for a bike ride tomorrow afternoon! The Chicago Bicycle Coalition will lead us on a tour of the Northwest side. Co-hosted by the National Veterans Art Museum and Arts Alive Chicago. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Chicagoans, veterans, cycling enthusiasts and more—are all welcomed to our architectural biking tour of the city. Starts August 9, 2014 from
1:00 p.m. to approximately 2:30 p.m. for ½ ride or 4 p.m. for full loop.
Meet us at: Jefferson Memorial Park!
4822 N. Long Avenue (at Higgins) #ChicagoArt #architecture #Chicago #BikeChicago
https://www.facebook.com/events/666947933388727/

08/05/2014
How playing an instrument benefits your brain - Anita Collins

We like the sound of this! (via TED-Ed)

When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines s…

Last chance to see Esprit de Corps, an exhibition highlighting the spirit of creative resilience at the National Veteran...
07/31/2014

Last chance to see Esprit de Corps, an exhibition highlighting the spirit of creative resilience at the National Veterans Art Museum!

Esprit de Corps will be coming down this Thursday! Don't miss your last chance today or tomorrow to see our therapeutic art exhibition featuring the artwork of nine veterans of Vietnam, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terror. #VeteranArt #exhibition #Chicago

Does this take on running as a PTSD treatment (from Runner's World) surprise you? Nice to see Team Red White & Blue get ...
07/22/2014
Running Back From Hell

Does this take on running as a PTSD treatment (from Runner's World) surprise you? Nice to see Team Red White & Blue get a shout-out. If you like what you read or want to find a team (for running, walking, yoga, swimming or more), let us know and we'll put you in touch with the Team RWB Chicago chapter!

"But if you run, you expect your heart to beat faster and your palms to sweat and your stomach to maybe feel like a bowl full of junk. And the more often you run, the more you expose yourself to those physical sensations, the thicker the layer of new memories becomes—the dominant memory associated with those sensations is no longer the fire-fight. It's the interval workout you did that morning. That trauma memory is still there. It doesn't go away, but it's no longer the most salient, and it no longer triggers a response.

"'With fight-or-flight reactions,' Peterson says, 'there's a significant physiological reaction, and vigorous exercise like running comes closest to what that reaction is like. The goal is not to get overwhelmed by the physiology and quit, but to channel the surge of adrenaline into running, cognitively process the traumatic events, and lay down new memories.'"

PTSD is shattering the lives of thousands of American soldiers. But some experts believe running can counter the disorder's debilitating symptoms—and help restore the joy that war erased.

Congratulations to Art Therapy Alliance on a big Facebook milestone. VetCAT: A Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy Program f...
07/20/2014
Call for Art : Art Therapy 360 : Join the Celebration! | Art Therapy Alliance Blog

Congratulations to Art Therapy Alliance on a big Facebook milestone. VetCAT: A Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy Program fans might be interested in contributing a mandala celebrating the awesomeness and power of art therapy. Follow the link for more information (and tutorials, if you've never done one before--they're easy and fun!).

To contribute to this community project, please e-mail your own original mandala art photo to [email protected] w/ a brief statement describing how your 360 image celebrates this amazing field and practice around the globe!

Have you checked out The Report, the online literary journal of the Veterans Writing Project? New fiction, non-fiction a...
07/18/2014
O-Dark-Thirty

Have you checked out The Report, the online literary journal of the Veterans Writing Project? New fiction, non-fiction and poetry by veterans is added every few days!

The Literary Journal of The Veterans Writing Project

Have you seen Wes Moore's TEDTalk? What do you think? We invite you to share links to other pages/videos you find though...
07/17/2014
How to talk to veterans about the war

Have you seen Wes Moore's TEDTalk? What do you think? We invite you to share links to other pages/videos you find thought-provoking, challenging, beautiful or otherwise interesting and we welcome your feedback on Wes Moore's talk!

Wes Moore joined the US Army to pay for college, but the experience became core to who he is. In this heartfelt talk, the paratrooper and captain—who went on to write "The Other Wes Moore"—explains the shock of returning home from Afghanistan. He shares the single phrase he heard from civilians on repeat, and shows why it's just not sufficient. It's a call for all of us to ask veterans to tell their stories — and listen.

We have lots of great VetCAT workshops taking place this summer! Find a four-week session that fits into your schedule a...
07/16/2014

We have lots of great VetCAT workshops taking place this summer! Find a four-week session that fits into your schedule and join us for Bookmaking: Exploring Identity in Word and Image! Give this post a share and help spread the word—as always, free and open to veterans of all backgrounds and experiences!

07/08/2014
Words of war, peace of mind: The Veterans Writing Project

An interesting article on the power of creative expression and the Veterans Writing Project!

"A century later, the longest stretch of fighting in American history has produced a new crop of writers. They've published books, essays, poems and plays, and they've written for themselves — letters they never intended to send, notebooks that no one else has opened.

"They've learned the hard way what science has shown: Writing about traumatic experiences can make a difference when nothing else has. It improves physical and psychological health. It organizes chaotic thoughts. It helps you find meaning, and then get on with things."

Ron Capps runs a nonprofit called the Veterans Writing Project. Launched three years ago, it offers free writing courses for current and former service members and publishes their work in a literary review called O-Dark-Thirty.

07/07/2014

LAST CALL FOR WATER SKIING PARTICPANTS!!!!

The Recreation Therapy department at Jesse Brown VA is planning on taking Veterans water skiing with Adaptive Adventure on Monday, July 14th. Erin can only take up to 10 Veterans for this event so please give Erin a call at 312-569-7653 if you would like to sign up to attend.
*everyone keeps thinking that since there is only 10 spots they must be full so they aren't signing up, there is still space, call Erin ASAP

Join us on Saturday, April 19 from 3 - 5 p.m. for The Clothesline Project, an opportunity for survivors of MST or sexual...
04/15/2014

Join us on Saturday, April 19 from 3 - 5 p.m. for The Clothesline Project, an opportunity for survivors of MST or sexual violence to tell their stories in a confidential workshop led by two experienced art therapists.

Participating veterans will use art materials to write, draw, or paint their experiences on a t-shirt.

You are not alone. Break the silence.

03/21/2014

Vet CAT programming resumes this weekend ( snow or no snow) ! Veterans join us from 1-3 this Sunday at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago located at 37 South Wabash, room #403 in downtown Chicago. Participants will have to show an ID at the door and have a picture taken for a temporary ID. All materials are provided along with light refreshments and a creative community experience. New veterans please email to register art [email protected]. New upcoming developments in Vet CAT programming and satellite locations around Chicago to be announced in the near future. Welcome all veterans and welcome spring!

VetCAT: A Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy Program has moved to the National Veterans Art Museum ! The same great program...
02/12/2014
| The National Veterans Art Museum inspires greater understanding of the real impact of war with...

VetCAT: A Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy Program has moved to the National Veterans Art Museum !

The same great program focused on providing veterans with high quality, creative arts therapies -- now housed in a first-class art museum. The mission of the National Veterans Art museum is to inspire a greater understanding of the real impact of war. From education and advocacy to cultural engagement and therapy, we are dedicated to honoring the stories of those who served.

Call us for more information about our VetCAT Program at 312-326-0270. You may also visit us in Chicago at 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue or online at www.nvam.org.

Timeline Photos
11/11/2013

Timeline Photos

National Veterans Art Museum
10/29/2013

National Veterans Art Museum

Help us spread the word for a great opportunity for parents and children! The National Veterans Art Museum is pleased to host a series of workshops to coincide with performances of Veterans' Voices by Erasing the Distance. See flyer for more information!

Veterans Crisis Line | Hotline, Online Chat & Text
09/27/2013
Veterans Crisis Line | Hotline, Online Chat & Text

Veterans Crisis Line | Hotline, Online Chat & Text

Free, confidential support for Veterans in crisis and their families and friends. Call the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1) or chat online 24/7/365.

Why art therapy helps
08/22/2013
Why art therapy helps

Why art therapy helps

Bill Moller talks to Suellen Semekoski, a certified art therapist and adjunct associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, about what art therapists do and how art therapy helps veterans and other people who need healing.

08/17/2013

VetCAT workshop facilitator and SAIC Art Therapy facutly, Suellen Semekoski, is on WGN Radio 720 am right now on The Voice of Chicago talking about Veterans, Art and art therapy. Tune in now and join the conversation.

Illinois Warrior Summit, 6th Annual Welcome Home, One Team Chicago
07/10/2013
Illinois Warrior Summit, 6th Annual Welcome Home, One Team Chicago

Illinois Warrior Summit, 6th Annual Welcome Home, One Team Chicago

FREE EVENT FOR VETERANS, ACTIVE DUTY SERVICE MEMBERS, and THEIR FAMILIES OPTIONAL PRE-REGISTRATION - Get your free tickets here ahead of time and be fast-tracked through registration on the day of the event! The Illinois Supporting All Veterans Equally (I-SAVE) Foundation, US Department of Veterans…

Skokie Heritage Museum
07/09/2013

Skokie Heritage Museum

Visit our Current Gallery Show --
KOREAN WAR 60th ANNIVERSARY
Skokie Heritage Museum's current show commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice through a variety of images and memorabilia, courtesy of the private collection of Mr. Jin Lee. This exhibit is presented in conjunction with the Korean Keumsil Cultural Society. Show includes local soldier medals and memorabilia loaned by area families displayed in four exhibit cases.
> Exhibit runs now through Sept. 26, 2013.
> Join us for the official opening reception on June 22nd at 2pm

Over 28 murals help viewers follow the three year history through newspaper accounts, national archive photos and much more. Start with the National Geographic panel for an overview of "The Forgotten War: Three Long Years in Korea" then follow the timeline clockwise around our second floor gallery.

Albany Park Community Center
07/09/2013

Albany Park Community Center

APCC's Jin Lee has been collecting Korean War artifacts and photos that are on display at the Skokie Heritage Museum until September 26, 2013.

Check out this great article about our programming.We are Warrior Artists!
06/06/2013
Warrior artists explore art therapy for veterans

Check out this great article about our programming.

We are Warrior Artists!

Suellen Semekoski is one of two clinicians working with VetCAT. "What I've found is the most important thing is helping the veteran get familiar with the materials, and helping a veteran get past the elitist notion of 'An artist does this and I don't do this,'" she said.

Timeline Photos
05/27/2013

Timeline Photos

Albany Park Community Center
05/13/2013

Albany Park Community Center

On November 17th, 2012 VetCAT hosted its first Body Be Well event complete with movement exercises, arts, massages & activities!

VetCAT: A Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy Program's cover photo
01/08/2013

VetCAT: A Veterans' Creative Arts Therapy Program's cover photo

Honored and humbled by your service, brave Veterans!
11/12/2012

Honored and humbled by your service, brave Veterans!

Veterans Day - Share to honor all who served
11/11/2012

Veterans Day - Share to honor all who served

Veterans Day - Share to honor all who served

10/29/2012
Dryhootch Milwaukee

Dryhootch Milwaukee

Volunteers Needed for the Milwaukee Warrior Summit!

Milwaukee Warrior Summit Volunteer Request
Location: War Memorial – Time: November 8, 2012 from 6:45am to 4:30pm
Thursday, November 8th is the Dryhootch Warrior Summit at the Milwaukee War Memorial Center. Dryhootch needs your help in our effort to coordinate volunteers for the event! We need volunteers: to be time managers for our guest speakers and breakout sessions throughout the event. for registration and check-in to the event. to provide directions to those participating in the event with respect to location and times of sessions and keynote presentations. Remember, this event is to be a comprehensive community response to the mental health needs of our veterans and their families, and we need your help to do everything we can to facilitate this process throughout the event. Please send all responses for volunteers to [email protected]. Free parking is available for all volunteers at the Center.

09/04/2012

Preparing to launch our second series of workshops beginning Wednesday September 19 and Sunday September 23.

Out of uniform...
03/12/2012
Out of uniform...

Out of uniform...

When Iris M. Feliciano left the U.S. Marine Corps in 2006, she had been in the military for a decade. She knew who she was as a Marine. But as a civilian, she was far less sure.

On Veterans Day we honor and thank all veterans who have and continue to serve this Country.
11/11/2011
Veterans Day 2011 Freebies - Hey, It's Free!

On Veterans Day we honor and thank all veterans who have and continue to serve this Country.

Tomorrow is Veterans Day and I’m happy to say there are a ton of offers available. To be honest, I couldn’t even begin to cover to them, but The Military Wallet seems to have done the best job. As such, I’m just going to cover the food freebies that I’ve been able to verify. Check out their site for...

Happy 236th Birthday MarinesThe United States Marine Corps traces its institutional roots to the Continental Marines of ...
11/10/2011
Marine Corps Birthday Video

Happy 236th Birthday Marines
The United States Marine Corps traces its institutional roots to the Continental Marines of the American Revolutionary War, formed by Captain Samuel Nicholas by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress on 10 November 1775, to raise 2 battalions of Marines. 10 November is regarded and celebrated as the date of the Marine Corps’ “birthday.”

The United States Marine Corps traces its institutional roots to the Continental Marines of the American Revolutionary War, formed by Captain Samuel Nicholas by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress on 10 November 1775, to raise 2 battalions of Marines. 10 November is regarded and celebrat...

Address

4041 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL
60641

General information

PROGRAM GOALS • To facilitate successful reintegration and transitions in civilian life. • To promote the mental health of participating veterans and active duty service members. • To recognize and de-stigmatize PTSD. • To increase knowledge about the mental health issues which are commonly distressing to veterans and their families. PROGRAM OBJECTIVES • Participants will engage in self-expression to decrease isolation. • Participants will improve communications with family members and develop stronger connections with their community. • Participants will identify their resiliency and strengths. • Participants will learn and develop self-care and coping skills. • Community and family will gain recognition and understanding of military culture, and the unique challenges and sacrifices of veterans.

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